Michele Leavitt

How Poetry Workshops Work

Last night, a poem on chronic pain (and other things) was published in Heron Tree, a journal I very much admire for its aesthetic and its restraint.

Without the feedback I receive as a member of a community poetry group, I’m sure my poems would not be ready for public consumption. Often, what seems very clear to me is not at all obvious, even to experienced poets.

When I moved from Massachusetts to Florida in 2004, I missed the criticism and camaraderie of the incredible Powow River Poets Workshops that I’d attended for ten years. I whined about it to the group founder, Rhina P. Espaillat. She told me to go start a new poetry workshop in Florida. So I put up a notice in a local bookstore and a new workshop was born, almost 12 years ago now.

My deepest thanks to the brilliant women in this “new” poetry workshop who are such insightful critics. Samara Crutchfield, Aliesa Zoecklein, Faith Clark, Corky Culver .